questionsYour new employee shows up on her first day a little bit nervous (or maybe very nervous) about what lies ahead.

You—and many small business owners like you—are probably nervous as well, hoping that the time, energy, and money you invested in hiring this person will pay off.

At the end of that first day, says Eric Chester, author of Reviving Work Ethic, “there are four questions rolling around in [the new hire’s] mind that will determine whether they will be with you for the long haul” or if this is just a pit-stop on the path to their next job opportunity.

Answering Your New Employee’s Questions “Why did they hire me for this job?”

You know why you chose this person over other applicants but, as Chester says, “it’s essential they know, too.” He suggests answering their questions along these lines:

“I hired you because you made a great first impression … and because you showed such enthusiasm throughout the interview. I felt you weren’t just looking for any job, but that you really wanted to join our team … If that’s an accurate representation of who you are, you’re going to succeed here and be with us for a long time!”

Feedback like this helps get the employment relationship off to a great start and “will reinforce to them how they’ve already demonstrated the values and behaviors” important to your organization.

“Will I enjoy working here?”

Like most employers, you probably told the new hire your business is a “fun place” to work. So did they have any fun on their first day or do they feel they will “have to keep their nose to the grindstone until the horseshoe tournament at the annual company picnic next summer?”

If there’s been no occasion to laugh or smile, your new employee “may feel like the fun you promised was a recruiting gimmick” and their new job will be a long, dreary experience. “Not exactly the impression you want them taking home on Day #1.”

“Can I make friends with any of my co-workers?”

It used to be that employers discouraged socializing at work. These days, Chester notes, “it’s a critical component of employee engagement and retention.” Studies show employees are less likely to leave a job if they’re working alongside some close friends.

The key, Chester says, is not to walk the new person around the office and introduce employees by name and title alone. The goal is to help them make “real connections that could forge a friendship.” During the introductions, give both the new employee and your veterans some background information so they can make a connection on their own.

“Who can I talk to about…?”

If at the end of the first day the new hire hasn’t come to you with questions about the workplace, that doesn’t mean they don’t have questions they want answered. This can include everything from “Where do I park?” and “What’s the casual Friday dress code?” to “Can I eat lunch at my desk?”

Rather than handing them the employee handbook, bring them together with “a carefully selected mentor or ‘onboarding concierge’” who can answer their questions in a comfortable atmosphere, and make them feel more like part of the team.

“The sooner you can answer all of those questions, the sooner you’ll have an engaged employee who’s able to perform at their best."